People helping people: Friendly Town readies for 'Scarf Bombing'
ORANGE — During the early part of December residents will see an unusual site, a variety of winter scarves — handcrafted or store-bought — hanging from trees and other objects at Memorial Park and in the Main Street center. The purpose: To offer a bit of warmth to the homeless and others in need during the winter months.
Over the last year or so, the humanitarian undertaking unofficially referred to as “scarf bombing” has taken hold across the United States and Canada, where it is reported to have started. Some groups and organizations have expanded their scarf bombings to include other handcrafted clothing, such as knitted hats.
Orange resident and Council on Aging member Bonnie Bradshaw said recently she was inspired to coordinate a local “scarf bombing” effort after going online and seeing pictures and reading about similar events elsewhere. “I thought it would be a cool thing to do here,” she said.
To generate interest, Bradshaw first reached out to friends and then began advertising on WDJF 97.3 FM. In just a short time, a number people joined Bradshaw’s “Scarf Bombers” group and the donations began rolling in. “We have about 100 scarves already,” she said.
Of those 100 scarves, Bradshaw said 22 were handmade by Faith Pace, also of Orange, and her group from “At Your Own Pace.” Additionally, they hand-painted notecards, as all scarves hung will have messages attached which read: “I am not lost. If you are out in the cold, take this scarf to keep you warm.”
“Right off the bat, she came forward; they were our first donors,” said Bradshaw of Pace and her group.
As of the writing of this article, the Scarf Bombers consisted of Bradshaw, Tracy Gaudette, Barbara Sweeney, Kathy Stoddard, Kim Marshall, Andrea Young and Heather Laughton. “It’s people helping people while we have fun doing what we like to do — crocheting, knitting, sewing,” said Bradshaw.
Bradshaw said anyone is welcome to join, and the next meeting will be Sunday, Nov. 15, at noon, at the Orange Armory. At that time, the group will attach cards to the scarves and plan their “distribution” strategy.
With an eye to be kept on the weather forecast, Bradshaw said it is anticipated the scarves will be hung and remain hanging during the first two weeks of December. After that, any remaining scarves will be available at the armory.
Persons interested in donating scarves — either knitted, crocheted, sewn or fleece — can drop them off at the armory, the town hall, the White Cloud Restaurant, Workers’ Credit Union or WJDF before Dec. 1.
“The more scarves we get, more people will be able to stay warm, and that’ll be a good thing,” said Bradshaw.